I won’t lie to you all and say that I love everything about myself and think I’m perfect and don’t care what the haters think. I’m self-conscious and always question whether my outfits won’t be received well because my thighs are too large or my lipstick color is too dramatic. It’s no longer at the level that I can’t wear whatever I want without first analyzing every aspect of myself and my outfit. But it is at the point where I’m very careful and particular about how I wear certain items in case a part of me I am not so fond of will be emphasized.
When I was in high school we were on a field trip where I fell in the water and needed to borrow a top from someone because mine was soaked all the way through. In my group was two guys, two girls, and myself. I asked if everyone would briefly turn around so I could quick take off my shirt and put on a new one, since the bus driver kind of gave me the creeps and didn’t want to change by him, I changed out in the open since other groups were a distance away. Everyone turned away except one of the guys, who snarkily remarked that “Your stomach has a lot of hair.”
No. Fucking. Way.
I am Pakistani, and I have a lot of hair. I’d been aware for awhile that the amount of body hair I had was more than anyone else I spent time with. It was so uncomfortable to have a member of the opposite sex tell me that I had a lot of hair. Did you simply point it out because you’re jealous I had more chest hair than you?
To this day I have a trail of hair that runs from between my breasts down to my pubic hair. The hair is black and as I am not always especially tan, making it distinctive against my skin. A trail of defiance against the society of hairless creatures. This is why I got my boob chandelier. It goes from between my breasts all the way down to above my belly button. Any bit of hair that could catch anyone’s attention is now blocked by a beautiful piece of art. Rather than shaving every strand of hair I brought it front and center. If you are going to look at my chest, you’ll see what I want you to see.
The hair that made me constantly wear shirts that covered my whole tummy and made trips to the beach unbearable, was gone. Now I proudly bare my midriff and stomach with no shame or embarrassment. People make comments about “Oh how will that look in 20 years” and I don’t care. It’s a moment etched into my skin that reminds me that my body is a work of art and my chest piece is mine and only mine. I took something that made me self-conscious for over a decade and crafted it into artwork that every time I look at think, I am stunning.
I remember one of my first days in South Korea I was walking down some stairs and two Korean girls commented, in Korean, how my thighs were fat and jiggling. I’d never really thought of myself as large, I had let myself go in recent years since I wasn’t working out regularly, but still considered myself to be on the smaller side. It seemed so childish for these girls to comment on the jiggle of my thighs, I have big thighs because I have a big ass, somethings gotta hold my booty in place, keep me from tipping over. These “big” thighs you hate so much are now the canvas on which my tattoo artist has given me an exquisite piece that stretches across the whole slab of fat.
Monday, February 27th, I took the lead and got a thigh tattoo. Lately I’ve been trying to keep as much attention away from my thighs as possible. I don’t like that they’re covered in cellulite, and have discoloration from a skin condition called Tinea Versicolor. All I could see when looking at my thighs was discolored splotches, cellulite, and razor burns. I wanted to love my legs again and be excited to show them off. That’s why I got my thigh done. I have no control over my skin discoloration, it’s going to be more evident as I spend more time in the sun and there isn’t a quick fix.
Instead of shying away and covering my thighs anymore I’ve decided to own up to them. They’re flaws are just distinctive markings that make them unique. They’re soft and supple and people have willingly opted to die between them. I won’t let my body be the cause of adolescent moments of shame and discomfort anymore. Every tattoo is a reminder that my body is my kingdom. It is scarred and squishy and hairy and can be what I want it to be.
My tattoos are my story, they’re my fight, my life, and my loves. I will never love every piece of myself, I will always gravitate towards the bad and not the good, but I’m trying. We are all these bewitching and flawed beings. Tattoos for me have been my comfort and power. It’s a big “Fuck you!” to a society that tells me I shouldn’t love my body hair and my cellulite. It may seem like I’m masking these flaws by covering them up, but instead I’m prominently displaying them, but the way I want them to be viewed. I am an art gallery and you are all visitors.
At the end of the day, happiness and self confidence are my journey, and that’s all that matters.